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Baker's Dozen

The Old Country: Steve Von Till’s Baker’s Dozen
John Doran , December 16th, 2020 10:06

The long-serving Neurosis guitarist and singer shares his deep dive favourites; 13 albums which have shaped the way he looks at music and informed his writing and solo work as Harvestman and Steve Von Till


Townes Van Zandt - The Late Great Townes Van Zandt
So Townes Van Zandt, was obviously a certain type of country singer but what do you think about the idea of him as being a country singer who wrote heavy metal lyrics?

Hahaha! Ah... Maybe in a couple of spots. There's only one song in which I would actually totally agree with you and that's one song that nobody ever talks about: ‘Silver Ships Of Andilar’. You can tell he was drinking heavily and reading Tolkien when he wrote it because it's super dark, super depressing, super heavy, everybody dies kind of deal and the lyrics are very mystical in a Tolkienesque way, but this song is a complete outlier by a musician who was already an outsider. I don't think he was embraced by the country world ever. He died pretty poor and had been pretty much just playing gig to gig. He clearly suffered from some mental health problems and had addiction issues, but he was an outsider even among the alternative folk of Americana. He was the true outsider of the time, hanging out with outlaws down in Austin, Texas. I think he was a songwriter's songwriter: he was the one that all of them looked to and it became like, ‘Wow man, if only we could do it like him’, but I don't think he was ever really embraced in his lifetime like he is today. Now he's revered.